One of our biggest summer releases, Promising Young Woman continues to be a favourite at Palace Cinemas. To celebrate, we’ve taken a moment to discuss why we think this film has garnered so much attention and more importantly, why it’s a must-see!
Carey Mulligan – in a career highlight – stars as Cassandra Thomas, a thirty-year-old medical school drop-out living at home with her worried parents and working part-time at a coffee shop. Driven to vigilante action after her best friend’s sexual assault, Cassandra begins to take down the men who take advantage of drunk women at bars and, after her friend’s assaulter reemerges, crafts a plan to enact revenge on him and those who protected him.
The feature debut for writer/director Emerald Fennel (Killing Eve, The Crown), Promising Young Woman audaciously marries its confronting subject matter with comedic relief to create a devilishly enjoyable but confronting tone. One way the film achieves this is by utilizing the audiences’ relationship to pop-culture. The familiar faces of Adrian Brody, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Max Greenfield, and Chris Lowell – and the natural associations of their ‘nice-guy’ characters – are flipped on their heads as their dark predatory behaviour is depicted. It’s sobering as the film is clear in its convictions and voices a direct and unapologetic point of view that is righteous and entertaining.
Fennel also uses hyper-feminine aesthetics to incredible fruition. The dark thematic exploration is maintained with a candy-coloured palette full of floral prints and bright colours that add a level of authenticity and empowerment to the darkness hiding just beneath the surface. Most notably is the use of music, which is scored with a combination of breathtaking old-Hollywood-inspired orchestral pieces paralleled with contemporary pop music, allowing the film to deliver unexpected story and character moments.
Carey Mulligan shines in her performance, utilising her smile as a weapon and exuding both an electrifying confidence and vulnerability. She ultimately embodies a fully-realised portrait of a person exhausted, wounded, and enraged by a culture of toxic masculinity. Cassandra is a victim but as her morality is pushed to the edge it becomes a testament to Mulligan’s charisma that we almost want her to step over it. She re-inspires the conventional heroine with a contemporary lens and a character that feasts upon decades of ingrained and ignored abusive behaviour.
Promising Young Woman is one of those rare films that explores a taboo subject with such fearlessness that it becomes both devilishly enjoyable and confrontingly informative.
Promising Young Woman is now showing! Book now!
“Grey areas have never looked so dazzlingly and queasily neon-bright.”
– Daily Telegraph (UK)
“This is the Mulligan show, though, and she proves every bit at home with humour as she is with serious drama.”
– Times (UK)
“Actress-turned-writer-director Emerald Fennell swings for the fences with an unapologetically bold thriller rooted in the conversations about #MeToo, consent and slut-shaming.”
– The Wrap